Significant Case Victories
Actual cases, the charges and the outcomes
In criminal law, nothing spells success like winning. Attorney Melanie Roe has an impressive resume of wins, too many wins to list here. However, the following list, by no means all-inclusive, was compiled to illustrate her great depth of achievement in the field of criminal law and the varied range of challenging cases she has handled over the years.
Melanie N. Roe Criminal Defense Cases
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LATEST CASENew!MOMMA NEEDS A BRAND NEW BAG:Outcome: HUNG JURY
Description: Jury hangs and hopelessly dead-locks on a possession of methamphetamine/meth pipe case where the drugs and pipe were found in defendant’s purse. After the court had denied both Attorney Roe’s motion to suppress the evidence and motion to dismiss, the court and prosecutor were baffled on why Attorney Roe insisted on a jury trial. It seems only Attorney Roe understood how hard it would be for the prosecutor to prove the “scienter” element, i.e. defendant’s knowledge of the presence of the meth and pipe in the purse.
LATEST CASENew!SUPPRESSION MOTION GRANTED IN BAC DUIOutcome: CASE DISMISSED
Description: CHP officer testifies he observed defendant’s Toyota straddling lanes for 50-75 feet and that when he stopped the defendant, he observed red, bloodshot and watery eyes. Attorney Roe cross-examined the officer with his own in-car videotape which failed to reveal any bad driving on the defendant’s part, let alone lane straddling. She also introduced her client’s mug shot which did not corroborate the officer’s observations re bloodshot eyes. And for a trifecta, she then concluded her impeachment of the officer by having him admit on the record he inaccurately reported the lanes as broken white lines, as opposed to solids. Judge Jeffrey Gunther reviewed the video carefully (approximately 5 times in open court) and ruled the video was “clearly unclear”, that the inconsistency in the officer’s report re the broken vs. solid lines was an important item and the defendant’s violation, if any, was de minimus. In the interest of fairness, and failure of proof by the government, he granted the motion, suppressed the evidence and the government dismissed the case.
Case OneSUBSTITUTE TEACHER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF CHILD MOLESTATION COUNTSOutcome: FOUND NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHILD MOLESTATION COUNTS
Description: On October 11, 2012, a jury of 12 acquitted Attorney Roe’s client, a male substitute teacher of all counts of child molestation, thus ending a 3.5 year nightmare for this young man. It all began in 2009 when two first grade girls accused the substitute of inappropriate touching during class. The substitute took the stand and admitted touching 3-4 girls and boys around their shoulders and mid-sections in an effort to give positive encouragement, and nothing more. It was his first day at the school and he had received no training in how to handle the children. Looking for a motive to lie, Attorney Roe scoured the taped interviews of the girls and found that the police failed to pick up on the fact that one of the girls felt the substitute teacher had ignored a fellow student, and friend. This was obviously very significant to the girl as she mentioned it not once, but twice, during the forensic interview. Attorney Roe was able to show how that child approached the ignored child, talked about the substitute, and then together reported him to staff. Attorney Roe expanded on this theory during cross-examination and also argued the government failed to prove the requisite mental state of the defendant. Jury agreed and found the defendant not guilty on everything. Let freedom ring!
Case TwoMEAN GIRLS MEET BOYS 'N THE HOOD: MULTI-VICTIM CHILD MOLESTATION CASE DISMISSED AFTER JURY HANGSOutcome: ALL MOLESTATION CHARGES DISMISSED AFTER JURY DEAD-LOCKED WITH A MAJORITY IN FAVOR OF THE DEFENSE
Description: The year 2010 found Attorney Roe in another highly publicized sex case; highly publicized partly because the accused is both a prominent member of his community and local little league coach. The accused professed his innocence from day one. This man’s nightmare began when three young female family members, all of whom despised the accused because his house rules prohibited young boys/men to be in the family home when not accompanied by adults, were led to the stand where they testified not once, but twice, that they had been molested many times in many different locations, and even raped, by the accused. The girls portrayed themselves as something purer than the driven snow, something not usually seen in the Desert. Snow, that is. Attorney Roe skillfully dissected each and every statement the girls made, exposed the inconsistencies, falsehoods, and absurdities along the way. The final blow came when Attorney Roe subpoenaed the neighborhood boys to the stand to give jaw-dropping testimony detailing the sexual proclivities and experience of the female witnesses.
Case ThreeTHE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: ATTEMPTED MURDER AND MAYHEM CHARGES DISCHARGED AT PRELIMINARY HEARINGOutcome: The accused was DISCHARGED on all felony counts including ATTEMPTED MURDER, MAYHEM, ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON (FIREARM), AND CONSPIRACY. This young man was SET FREE and he went home to his family.
Description: This case began in 2009 with a shooting in the parking lot of a gang-infested apartment complex in Banning, CA leaving one man to live the rest of his life as a paraplegic. Attorney Roe’s cross-examination of an eye-witness to the shooting revealed the shooter actually fled in a white/silver Lincoln Towncar, and not a tan/gold-colored Cadillac (which the defendant was known to drive) as reported to law enforcement. Law enfrcement and the District Attorney of Riverside County shamelessly failed to pursue leads of an unrelated traffic stop on a white Linclon Towncar made within a few miles of the incident and within 70 minutes of the shooting. Encrypted disptch logs revealed: (i) the seizure of a firearm from the town car (and of note: two missing rounds, the same number of shots heard by a witness to the shooting); and (ii) the subsequent arrest of two Hispanic males (shooter was identified as an Hispanic male). The accused was a Native American Indian.
Case FourSALACIOUS SEX TRIAL AGAINST DESERT REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER'S CNA ENDS IN NOT GUILTY VERDICTS ON ALL FELONY SEX COUNTSOutcome: The jury ACQUITTED the accused of all 6 felony counts brought by the D.A.
Description: This was one of the most salacious and overly-publicized trial of 2007 in the Palm Springs area attracting such spectators as the infamous Gloria Allred, attorney for the female complaining witness who claimed my client, a 13 year certified nursing assistant at DRMC, sexually assaulted her in her hospital room. Defense produced internet evidence from the claimant’s social websites that greatly destroyed her credibility through impeachment not to mention a long stream of witnesses voaching for the accused’s sterling character and reputation in the nursing community.
Case FiveCHUCKAWALLA 5 MURDER CONVICTION REVERSED ON APPEALOutcome: 2nd Degree Murder Conviction REVERSED
Description: In 2008, Attorney Roe tried a 3 week murder trial involving five (5) co-defendant inmates at Chuckawalla State Prison. While attorney Roe’s objections to unconstitutionally seized statements of her client were sustained, and evidence excluded, other evidence re co-conspirator statements did come in despite Attorney Roe’s vehement objections. Client was prejudiced by the admission of this evidence, convicted, but 4th District Court of Appeals agreed with Attorney Roe’s objections and REVERSED the conviction.
Case SixFAMOUS EAGLE MOUNTAIN DOUBLE HOMICIDE AND SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES TRIAL: NOT GUILTY ON ALL MURDER COUNTSOutcome: ACQUITTED on not one, but TWO murder counts. Client RELEASED from custody!
Description: With 8 co-defendants at the commencement of trial, this case was the largest murder case in the State of California in 2005-6. A highly publicized 3 week trial, this case was won on Attorney Roe’s painstakingly brutal cross-examination of nine (9) eye-witnesses to the killings.
Case SevenSOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, DREAMS COME TRUE AND SUPPRESSION MOTIONS ARE GRANTEDOutcome: CASE DISMISSED
Description: Attorney Roe represented a young Native American Indian named Rainbow. Rainbow was charged with possessing various drugs seized by undercover agents at the COACHELLA ’04. At the hearing of the motion to suppress, the government produced 4-5 law enforcement officers from all over California who had pulled over-time while working the festival. None of them could articulate the requisite level of suspicion necessary to make probable cause. The court granted Attorney Roe’s motion, suppressed the evidence, and dismissed the case. So impressed with Ms. Roe’s work, Rainbow’s father, a tribal elder for a Native American Indian tribe in Northern California, affectionately named Ms. Roe: “Lead Mare”.
Case EightDADDY MAY HAVE TAKEN THE T-BIRD AWAY BUT DEFENDANT HAD FUN, FUN, FUN AND WAS NOT HELD TO ANSWER ON THE GRAND THEFT AUTO CHARGEOutcome: THE COURT DISCHARGES ALL COUNTS TO THE BEWILDERMENT OF THE D.A.
Description: In 2004, Boyfriend borrows the car of girlfriend’s father, with girlfriend’s permission. Everyone knows this, including the police and the District Attorney. Defendant is arrested. Charges are filed. Perhaps in the shortest preliminary history on record, Attorney Roe gets all witnesses to concur on this one fact. Boom.
Case NineFATHER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF CHILD ABUSEOutcome: FATHER ACQUITTED OF CHILD ABUSE.
Description: Divorced dad discovers his 15 year old daughter has lied about her whereabouts on “his week-end” and takes daughter back to Grandma’s because he’d had it. Daughter won’t get out of the car when they arrive. She is gently escorted out of the vehicle but falls to the ground upon tripping in her 6 inch wedge shoes. She strikes her head on the pavement and suffers a golf-ball- sized lump. Police are called by the ex-wife, no surprise. Defendant testified his young daughter was dressing far beyond her age with the high wedges and couldn’t even walk in them. Her fall was an accident. Strangely, during trial, one of the jurors also fell in her 6 inch wedged shoes while court was in recess. Ambulance was called. Jury deliberations resumed, and a verdict was reached QUICKLY.
Case TenTHIS BUD'S FOR YOU: DEFENDANT ACQUITTED OF ROBBERY AT TRIALOutcome: The Jury convicted the Defendant of petty theft, ACQUITTED HIM OF ROBBERY, exactly as Attorney Roe requested them to do and Defendant was immediately released from custody.
Description: In 2004, Defendant, completely intoxicated, visits friend and clerk at a 7-11 and in his stupor is seen on the surveillance video soliciting friend to play along with a beer run, making it look like a robbery so friend wouldn’t get fired when the tape was played back. Naturally, friend plays along, boss later questions him, whereupon he claims he was robbed. At trial, friend/”victim” testified he was in constant fear during the “robbery” of the beer, but Attorney Roe played the tape repeatedly to the jury to show the clerk was anything but fearful as he continued to munch on fritos and slurp his slurpy throughout the entire escapade.
Case ElevenEXCUSE ME....YOU SHOT MY CLIENT! CHARGE OF ATTEMPTED MURDER ON A COP DROPPED IN 2005 CASEOutcome: ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGES DISCHARGED AT PRELIMINARY HEARING
Description: Riverside County Sheriff Deputy stops car in Coachella and defendant passenger chooses to exit and run. Deputy orders him to stop and for some unknown reason a pursuit kicks into high gear. Within moments, the Deputy apprehends his subject and a struggle ensues. Deputy claims defendant unsnapped safety on his firearm which was strange since he also testified defendant’s hands were not near the weapon. Needless to say, Deputy discharges his firearm while defendant breaks free to run away. Defendant is shot in the chest, the bullet missing all vital organs. Defendant was booked and charged with attempted murder on the same deputy who shot him 11 hours earlier.
Case TwelveCHILD MOLESTATION CHARGES AGAINST AFRICAN-AMERICAN FATHER IN BI-RACIAL MARRIAGE DROPPED AT PRELIMINARY HEARINGOutcome: FELONY CHARGES OF CHILD MOLESTATION ARE DROPPED
Description: Husband and wife are a bi-racial couple with several small children. Upon moving into a new apartment, in 2004, daughter has a slumber party. One of the guests, another small child, claims the defendant molests her. Ample evidence of racial epithets and harassment by child’s mother immediately after party and before claim was presented along with evidence that mother had also been a survivor of child molestation and was hyper-sensitive.
Case ThirteenDEAF AND MUTE DEFENDANT DISCHARGED OF ALL COUNTS OF CHILD MOLESTATION AT PRELIMINARY HEARINGOutcome: ALL CHARGES WERE DISCHARGED AT PRELIMINARY HEARING AND DEFENDANT WAS SET FREE
Description: Perhaps one of Attorney Roe’s most challenging cases: how to defend a client that cannot hear his attorney, or speak a single word. Fortunately for this man, Attorney Roe utilized the services of sign language interpreter Betty Ludwig. With Ms. Ludwig’s assistance, the client explained his side of the story. He had been invited to live with a single mother of 2. She had a gambling addiction, and once defendant moved in, she started spending inordinate amounts of time at the casino leaving the kids with defendant. When the client told the woman (in writing) it had to stop, and that he would report her to CPS and INS if it didn’t, child molestation charges sprung up out of thin air. At preliminary hearing, the small boy admitted he was touched, but only on his tummy, and no where else, though mother, who had always been at the casino, was adamant the touching was far worse.
Case FourteenDUI DISMISSED AFTER TRIAL IN THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICEOutcome: DISMISSED AFTER JURY HANGS
Description: This was a DUI on DUI case deserving of a classic one-two punch. Client gets call from partner that she had just been in an accident and to come quick. Police respond quicker and arrest partner for DUI. Police then arrest client for DUI. Attorney Roe’s former partner gets partner’s case dismissed which only makes th D.A. want a conviction even more on Attorney Roe’s client. Trial proceeds in 2009. D.A. is ordered before trial not to mention the sexual relationship or orientation between the two partners. When D.A. finally realizes her case is going down in flames courtesy of Attorney Roe’s foundation objections re blood alcohol evidence, D.A. chooses to ignore the judge, his rulings, ethics, etc. and goes ahead and prejudices the accused with the irrelevant sexual orientation evidence. Even so, jury hopelessly deadlocked and the Judge, upon Attorney Roe’s speedy invitation, dismissed the case in its entirety.
Case FifteenJUDGE, THE VICTIM WANTED A FOUR-SOME, AND WE'RE NOT TALKIN' TENNISOutcome: DISMISSED first day of trial. Couple now live happily ever after and apart.
Description: This domestic violence matter was an absurd case, by anyone’s standards, and yet it was still filed by the San Bernardino County D.A.’s Office in 2010. Here, husband and wife get into an argument about who is getting what in the divorce. Husband sees where things are going, leaves. Wife and daughter admit later that they concocted a story of domestic violence as leverage in family law court. Daughter hits wife/mom in face with a door, police respond and photograph injuries. Wife maintained she was fearful for her life up to trial, that is, until Attorney Roe pulled from her sleeve wife’s recent emails to husband requesting he chaperon her during a four-some in Sin City so she would feel safe.
Case SixteenATTORNEY ROE GIVES BACK AND TRIES 3 WEEK TORTURE CASE PRO BONO PUBLICOOutcome: Pending appeal
Description: In November 2009, Attorney Roe, tried a 21 count, 3 week torture, robbery, burglary, false imprisonment case pro bono publico. The case was selected as the accused, a modern day Gideon, was representing himself after a 13 year battle through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, with reversal by that court and remand to the Superior Court for re-trial. Attorney Roe vigorously defended the accused free of charge for 18 months through verdict and maintains that the RIverside County District Attorney’s Office was ethically bound to recuse itself after it was learned the complaining witness was then employed by the very agency prosecuting this man and that she had access to the government’s files and had even worked on them, evidencing a strong conflict of interest. Attorney Roe successfully halted the government’s attempts to allege one-strike rape counts at the eleventh hour, almost 13 years after intial filing of the felony complaint. This was significant as it effectively prevented a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. At trial, Attorney Roe argued the matter was over-charged, that the evidence did not support a torture count as the complaining witness did not sustain great bodily injury, that she delayed 2 days before seeking medical attention, and only did so because a victim-witness advocate suggested she do so, not because there was any need to, that she did not have x-rays, medication, hospitalization, or any further medical follow-up after the initial visit. Case is pending appeal on numerous grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.